"What size is the congregation?"
"Does the church where you preach meet its budget every week, month or year?"
All of these statements, and many many more, are said on a regular basis in preachers' meetings or the meetings of elders from different churches. It seems as though leaders and those seeking to be leaders in the church have an infatuation with these sorts of statistics. And, for the most part, they are perfectly fine and said out of honest and sincere hearts. In fact, I myself are a "numbers guy" and most likely keep track of many more matrices that you might think are somewhat strange for a preacher to take note of. But, there's something that needs to be said about these statements...
When we begin to measure a church's faithfulness to Christ by its numbers or statistics, we are not only doing ourselves a disservice, but the members of that congregation as well.
Let me ask you a few very simple questions. - By the time the story of Acts was concluded (somewhere around A.D. 62), how many Christians were there? How many conversions occurred during the fiscal year of A.D. 60? Did the church at Thessalonica meet its budget in A.D. 74?
We don't know the answers to those questions, do we? If God has given us everything that we ought to know in order to stay faithful and teach others to stay faithful (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:3), and we absolutely needed to know those things, why don't we have them recorded? I believe the reason is because numbers and statistics matter very little in the scheme of things. The only thing that truly matters is this question, "Were people taught the Way and did I live my life in fear of God and obedience to His commands?"
I'm all for keeping track of numbers. They help us see a where we are in our efforts. But they aren't everything!
As leaders in Jesus' church, let's seek to make a difference in people's lives. And if keeping numbers and track of outcomes helps us do that, let's keep them in their rightful place.